Because of the popularity of UFC and other sport martial arts, most people think martial arts is a competition between two people. This is quite far from the truth. In fact, many of martial arts such as Jiu Jitsu, Kung Fu, Sambo, etc in essence are meant to train a group of soldiers for war. The system has to be quick to learn and easy to use as today’s Krav Maga.

Warriors would do exercises as the ones shown in this video as a group as well as practice their individual combat skill. One of the most important military figures in late Chinese history general Qi Jiguang ( 1527-1588 ) commented in his military strategy book Ji Xiao Xin Shu that individual combat skill is not very important in battle.  In ancient combat the first wave of attack is generally carried out in a very close group formation, and the individual has little free movement. As we can see in this video (from 07:00-09:40), in a group battle you have little chance to use your individual fighting ability. Only as the battle progresses and both sides break into little skirmishes after initial impacts, individual combat ability would play a factor in battle.

The Battle of the Ice. A brutal battle between Teutonic Knight Order and Russia in AD 1242. The drawing is done by Russian Artist Vladimir Alexandrovich Serov

A Tai Chi master and historian from Taiwan sent me a message after seeing this video saying ” now I understand how Kung Fu was used to trained soldiers in the past, in fact the word Tai Chi was first used by a Chinese general to train soldiers in AD 502一557. ” It is unlikely Tai Chi from AD 502-557 has the same techniques as Tai Chi today but this was the first record of the word Tai Chi used in historical text in China.  As time progressed martial arts evolved to meet different needs for different time periods. During the Warring States Period (Sengoku period) Jiu Jitsu was meant for fighting samurais wearing heavy armor; it was kill or be killed. During the Edo period, Jiu Jitsu evolves into empty hand martial arts against people wearing normal daily clothes. In modern century Jiu Jitsu’s  kill or to be killed mentality of the past was transformed to a gentleman’s sports such as Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for today’s world.

Some might ask what does this have to do with Krav Maga ? After Imi’s death, under different instructors Krav Maga evolved very rapidly into different things. Some thought Krav Maga should become a traditional martial art, some thought Krav Maga should become a self defense system, some thought Krav Maga is an offensive Military Fighting System. There is no argument which school of thought is better nor where Krav Maga is going. However, as the influence from MMA and other disciplines are getting more influential in Krav Maga in order to grasp the spirit of Krav Maga and true purpose of some of the Krav Maga techniques and training we have to study its original form: an offensive Military Fighting System. In the following video, you might able to get the answers on why Krav Maga fighter do mostly low kick ? Why Krav Maga fighter does not bounce around as boxer ? Why original Krav Maga kicks are different from Muay Tai or Kickboxing ? Why most drills in Krav Maga class are conducted in group ? In the end of the day, as Krav Maga instructors we have to be able to explain the principals behind the techniques and training or otherwise we are no better than McDojo Masters.

“Study the past if you would define the future.”

Written By: Borhan J

Edited By: Doug V